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Meet the Apprentices from the FA Women’s Football Development Apprenticeship Programme

8th February 2023

This week is #NationalApprenticeshipWeek. We wanted to spotlight the apprentices who are currently on the Women’s Football Development Apprenticeship Programme that we run in partnership with the FA.

Daisy Stokoe - Middlesbrough College

Out of all the options I had looked at after finishing Sixth form I knew I wanted to do something to do with Sport but football specific if I could and when I read into this apprenticeship it didn’t sound like your average one, it looked like the perfect fit for me and my next steps.

What have you achieved so far? So far during my apprenticeship, I have set the girls' football academy back up as it had stopped running due to covid and hadn’t been picked back up until now. I have been running a girls' 5-a-side fun football tournament which is hosted once every month for girls who don’t play and haven’t played football before.

What have I enjoyed doing? I have enjoyed working with the girls' football academy, taking their training sessions and games as each week we can see them improving which is what we are aiming to do. I have also enjoyed meeting lots of new people through my apprenticeship as they have been able to give me bits of advice and help me develop in my role.

Is there anything you are looking forward to coming up from this Apprenticeship Programme? Throughout the rest of my time on this apprenticeship, I am just looking forward to learning new skills and developing in my role and as a person. Another thing I am excited about is to see where I am at the end of the apprenticeship, and how much of a difference I have made in the world of football for women.

Future goals? After I have finished my apprenticeship my future goals are just to make a difference in the world of football in any way I can.

What would you say to someone else thinking about doing this programme? I would probably say to anyone considering doing this apprenticeship to go for it, it is a role in that you get a lot of freedom to do what you want to do, and your ideas are valued and encouraged. It is rewarding in the sense that you can see the little differences you make to the girls in the colleges day to day lives by giving them the option to play football in some way shape or form. It allows you to meet many new and inspirational people that are contacted for life and help guide you to where you want to end up with lots of amazing opportunities being thrown at you all the time which makes your time in the role even better.

Amelia Williams, Walsall College

Why did you want to run the Football Development Apprenticeship Programme? -It was something that I was passionate about and it didn’t seem like an average apprenticeship it stood out for all the right reasons.

What have you achieved so far? -A range of things from increasing girls' engagement in playing football to educating the college in women’s and girls’ football and all of the ways that they can get involved.

What have you enjoyed doing? – Engaging a variety of girls in all aspects of football and seeing them believe in themselves and have fun. As well as learning continuously different ways to improve and develop a variety of skills

Is there anything you are looking forward to coming up from this Apprenticeship Programme? Working with a variety of people and stretching myself to work outside of my comfort zone.

Future goals - Expand on contacts and try and link up with as many people as possible. Alongside creating tournaments and more opportunities for girls to play.

What would you say to someone else thinking about doing this programme? – It might seem daunting at the start but go for it. It's everything and more as to what you expect, the relationships/contacts you build are massive the achievements you create and make are amazing and if it’s something you are passionate about it is very rewarding, to say the least.

Cameron Fletcher - Calderdale College

Why did you want to run the Football Development Apprenticeship Programme?

As soon as I saw the job advertised I started my application straight away. Having been actively involved in football ever since I started playing at the age of 6 I have always wanted to pursue a career in the game and this was the perfect opportunity. My passion for football gives me the drive and motivation to have a positive impact on increasing all participation in football.

What have you achieved so far? - My best achievement so far is the positive impact I have had on supporting the college’s football academy team. In partnership with Huddersfield Town we run the team and work on player retention/recruitment.

What have you enjoyed doing? - I have had lots of opportunities to deliver in multiple environments which have allowed me to develop myself a lot and learn to cater to different environments.

Is there anything you are looking forward to coming up from this Apprenticeship Programme? - I am looking forward to completing my UEFA C coaching badge, which my employer has paid for, as I feel it can positively impact my delivery at the college and in the community.

Future goals - I have three main goals. One of my main goals is to have enough players to have two college teams, another is to offer opportunities to students to ensure they stay active in football after college and a final goal of mine is to have a lasting effect on the local community.

What would you say to someone else thinking about doing this programme?- I would highlight the importance of self-reflection as within my role I have had many opportunities to try new things therefore it is important to know what could be improved for the next time.

Georgia Ferguson - Bolton College

Why did you want to run the Football Development Apprenticeship Programme? - As a lifetime lover of football and once a keen player myself, I wanted to put myself forward to be able to work for a prestigious organisation in football and to make an impact on the future of Women's Football. My passion began at a young age when watching my dad play for the England Partially Sighted Football team. This encouraged me to play, which lead to my biggest achievement playing for Everton Girls. Unfortunately, when I got older I lost confidence in my playing abilities and stepped away from the game, but I got involved with a Partially Sighted Football league as their Publicity Officer and I fell back in love with football but in a different way. I look forward to making the game more accessible and fun for everyone and providing opportunities for underrepresented communities.

Is there anything you are looking forward to coming up from this Apprenticeship?- I look forward to looking back in 2024 to see how far I've come and the impact I have made. I am eager to make a difference at Bolton College and work closely with Bolton Wanderers Community Trust. I'm excited about a Football v Homophobia Football Tournament that I'm delivering on the 13th and 16th of February, it's a great opportunity to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community and tackle homophobia whilst playing football.

Future goals

  • Help female learners explore career pathways in Football (Volunteering, coaching, refereeing, playing. etc)
  • Inspire girls to participate in regular football sessions.
  • Get students to have a choice on what events we hold at the college.
  • Attend any training/workshops that will allow me to develop new skills I can use within my role to make a bigger impact.
  • Gain my coaching badges
  • Set up a Bolton College Girls team and compete in an AoC league.
  • Be offered a full-time job at the end of the 22-month apprenticeship.

Amy Newbold – Telford College and Shrewsbury Colleges Group

So far I have created and planned a new Female Post 16 Colleges and Sixth Form’s League to run throughout Shropshire as this was something that did not exist when I joined and was a project I was excited to start and run. I have also started to lead weekly soccercise sessions at Shrewsbury College to subject classes with a high percentage of female students which is a fun way for the students to try football if they have never done so before. Furthermore, I also help assist with pan-disability football sessions at Telford College alongside two sport students who plan and run activities for the participants to complete.

I have enjoyed working within my County FA as it has provided me with an opportunity to learn more about how this organisation works and also the different roles within it. Here, I have been able to work alongside all of my colleagues to help them with tasks and to learn how to use different platforms and complete specific actions which have provided me with extended knowledge and skills that I could use in the future.

I am looking forward to attending our training days as we get to learn about new aspects of football and our personal development which is beneficial to our roles and the work we are completing across the country. I am also looking forward to running more initiatives throughout the colleges I am based at and continuing to run the Female Post 16 Colleges and Sixth Forms League throughout my apprenticeship to allow more females aged 16-19 to have an opportunity to play and experience football.

I would recommend this programme to others as you get support from all of the people involved in the apprenticeship from your line manager to all of the staff at AoC Sport. You also get to complete training to improve your personal development which you can then use throughout the programme and after as you learn skills you can use in future roles. It is also such a rewarding programme as each time you engage a new participant you feel successful, and it motivates you to continue what you are doing and plan more ways to increase participation rates.